Feb 18, 2016
MALDEN, MISSOURI – More than one hundred rice farmers gathered here yesterday for the 2016 Missouri Rice Conference. This was the first time the conference has been held in Malden and the new location drew a lot of new faces, including many young farmers interested in growing rice.
The conference agenda featured presentations primarily geared toward ongoing rice research such as furrow irrigated row rice, rice weed control, rice varieties, and production issues.
Research presenters included: Dr. Michael Aide, Southeast Missouri State University; Jim Heiser, University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center; Matt Rhine, University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center; and Dr. Chuck Wilson, University of Arkansas’ Rice Research Station in Stuttgart. The U.S. Rice Producers Association also gave an update on domestic and international markets.
A conference highlight was a visit by Congressman Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri’s Eighth District. Smith represents the largest congressional district in Missouri, known as the Bootheel that encompasses the entire rice-growing region of the state.
Following his speech, Smith answered questions from the rice farmers in the room. Smith told attendees, “I’m supporting legislation by Rick Crawford in Arkansas that would remove the barriers to agricultural trade in Cuba.” He acknowledged the importance of regaining the Cuban rice market and shared his intentions to travel to Cuba sometime this year to learn about the island’s commercial needs.
Smith also said he supports, “providing food aid through in-kind commodities rather than sending cash to refugee-stricken nations.” He talked about USA Rice’s involvement in the food aid debate and said he agreed with the position of providing in-kind contributions rather than unaccountable cash transactions.
USA Rice and the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership were sponsors of the conference.